London: Printed for Benj. Motte, 1726. First edition. Four octavo volumes bound in two, measuring 194 x 120mm. Contemporary panelled calf, rebacked to style with the majority of the original spines laid down. Gilt and morocco labels to spines. All edges speckled red. Bindings a bit rubbed, with a small repair to the lower board of Volume II. Complete, including the engraved frontis and six folding maps and plans. Internally pleasing, with only a few light spots to contents; small worm-track to the inner margin of the final 25 leaves of Volume II with no loss to text. A true first, Teerink's A issue, with all points present to distinguish it from the later printings of that year (Teerink AA and B). One of the most influential novels based in Enlightenment thinking, from one of the greatest satirists in the English language.
Gulliver’s Travels, to use the popular title, is one of the greatest satires in the English language—or any language, for that matter. It was an immediate success, which accounts in part for its bibliographical complexity, and has been hailed as a book that “would last as long as the language, because it described the vices of man in all nations” (DNB).
“Gulliver’s Travels has given Swift an immortality beyond temporary fame...All those who had been fascinated by the realism and vivid detail of Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe were captivated again, even though they knew that Gulliver must be fiction. The brilliance and thoroughness with which his logic and invention work out the picquancies of scale involved by the giant human among the Lilliputians, and then by a minikin Gulliver among the Brobdingnagians, ran away with the author’s original intention. Gulliver’s Travels has achieved the final apotheosis of a satirical fable, but it has also become a tale for children. For every edition designed for the reader with an eye to the historical background, twenty have appeared, abridged or adapted, for readers who care nothing for the satire and enjoy it as a first-class story” (Printing and the Mind of Man).
Grolier, 100 English, 42. Hubbard, pp. 15-17. Printing and the Mind of Man 185. Rothschild 2104. Teerink. (Item #3251)